I briefly considered writing this entire post in capital letters but figured that would get old for you pretty fast. It is finally time. We have finally received the OK to book plane tickets and make solid plans for travel. We are finally going to meet James.
God has been incredibly faithful during this time. So much has happened during our wait. Basically the whole gamut of human experience has been experienced by our family and close friends (can I get a weary amen?), and through it all we have seen the Lord’s grace and mercy and perfect timing unfold. We have obviously complained (too much, right?), and been impatient, and been unable to comprehend what goodness could possibly result during those times, but we were never abandoned. At no point were we left to our own devices to divine the next step. Looking back through older posts, and reflecting on the journey that took place independent of this process, I am so comforted and so aware of the abundant, undeserved gentleness that has been afforded to us. God is good.
And now we get to meet our son.
We’ll leave during the second(ish) week of April and return around the 28th, with the highlight of the visit being the 17th: the day we meet James! Fortunately, we know what it feels like when a child is COMPLETELY unimpressed by us and thinks we are the most terrifying people on the face of the earth during the first meeting (Thanks, V!), so we don’t have lofty expectations of how that meeting will go. Our prayer requests moving forward are going to be for safe travel to and from, wisdom about how best to meet James’ needs during the first days, and that we would be constantly aware of how incredibly huge this transition will be for him. He didn’t ask for this, he didn’t choose us, and there is a good chance he has no idea what a massive life shift he is about to experience. He has every right to be REALLY displeased. We have been asking God to prepare his heart for this and I am hopeful that this will be the last significant trauma he experiences at his young age.
Some sweet friends have asked for a bit of instruction about how they can be helpful during the first days, weeks and months of transition, so I’ll post some things that I’ve found useful in the next day or two for you to check out if you’re interested.
Thank you for your faithful support. You’re fantastic.
If this is a paper pregnancy, are these contractions?
A few weeks ago, we received James’ birth certificate and documents that detailed the termination of his birth parents’ rights. Reading the story and seeing in black and white that his mom had relinquished rights was very hard (even though we knew that had taken place before, it just became very real and very, very sad) and both Jason and I had a difficult time imagining all of the hurt that is wrapped up in this situation. James’ history, the details of it, are something that we won’t be sharing freely, out of respect for him. That sort of thing is his to share at some point when he is ready, and we will just keep things very general if asked.
Receiving the documents indicated that the “To Whom it May Concern” letter (AKA the letter we have been waiting on for like a year) was on its way as well, and we were informed that it arrived today! This means we can have a more firm expectation (rather than total guesswork) of traveling by/in April to pick up our boy. *big sigh of relief* Granted, the political climate is turbulent, and a lot can happen in two months, but our case worker seemed to think this would be a reasonable timeline.
Between now and then, our i800 form is being submitted to the US, the US will approve and send that to the US embassy in Bangkok, the US embassy will send that to the DSDW, some other paperwork needs to be given to someone during this time (thank goodness our case worker knows what is going on), and then, once the TRC is notified, we get to choose a travel date and go. Please be in prayer, if you choose to, that our patience tanks would be refilled, that James would be well cared for and safe in the time that remains, that the violent unrest in Bangkok would result in good progress for the Thai people and that everyone involved in the processing of orphan paperwork around the world would HUSTLE.
Due to the nature of Ukrainian adoption/hosting policies, we will need to share any info on JV in person. Just ask 🙂
Do you like our (not-at-all-related-to-Hinduism) mantra?
This past week involved rushing to take care of the immigration update necessities. We’ve
-made appointments for medical evaluations (blood draws, urine tests, TB tests)
-resubmitted Live Scans (fingerprinting and $$)
-filled out home study update forms- our former home study agency went out of business (awesome!) so we have to resubmit items in addition to the items that we would have already had to resubmit (employment verifications, discipline agreement, financial report, etc)
-received word that the official “child match” document from the TRC has been mailed to us to fill out and make James our matched son “officially” on paper. This is not the thing we have been waiting for to travel to pick him up, but it is actually just an additional thing that we need to fill out that we didn’t remember we were still waiting on. This doesn’t affect the waiting in any way, but I wonder if it might be an indicator that we are nearing the front of the line.
Additionally, I finally went to have vaccinations for travel (Jason finished his months ago) a couple of days ago. Tetanus and Hep A required shots, but thank goodness Typhoid is in pill form. I passed out after the shots and spent too much of the morning at Kaiser, all the while reminding myself that at least I’m really professional at something(so what if it’s passing out?), James is worth it, and I’m far from alone.
November 3rd is Grace Ev Free’s Defending the Fatherless Sunday, so we are excited to see how that day might stir the hearts of others toward orphan care. We would like it if you’d join us that morning!
(insert an entire day of hyperventilating and alternating between tears and laughter, prayer and phone calls)
The TRC approved our family and now we will be waiting to receive a letter inviting us to come pick him up. This could be anytime between now and later ( 🙂 ) though we are told six months is an average wait. We would love to have him in our arms before his birthday in July. God’s timing is perfect, and today was orchestrated with such pinpoint perfection that we can’t even really begin to comprehend it. As we talked to Grandma and Grandpa Tucker on the phone today, Grandma pointed out that she had noticed we were trying hard to stay brave while we waited for the decision, and it made me realize just how scared to death I really was of rejection and just how much we were already in love with our son.
Now it is time for preparations, making a photo album to send him and really letting the reality of the whole thing sink in. Also, we will be praying that he is pleased with the news and that being part of a family is something he has already desired. He is 5 going on 6 and adorable and we are so so pleased that he is our SON.
THANK YOU FOR PRAYING. THANK YOU FOR ENCOURAGING. THANK YOU FOR BEING SO VERY, VERY WONDERFUL. We are just too thankful to find sufficient words. Seriously. Thank you so much.
This blog, Bringin’ Home Baby Sister, has given me great hope today. I was beginning to wonder where the other Thai adoptive families were and why I couldn’t find their blogs, when I stumbled upon this gem.
The lovely author, Jenn, and her husband seem to have brought home their little girl, age 4, this past June after about two years of waiting, start to finish. As I devoured her posts, it became clear that she shares so many of our sentiments and frustrations, and that they finished the paperwork phase of their process in roughly the same amount of time that we did.
Now, obviously, this doesn’t really mean ANYTHING to what our wait time will be, but, still, to see that they have been down this road before us and the Lord moved things swiftly along for them…. I felt a swelling of hope in my chest.
We have heard news from WACAP that our dossier has indeed been sent to the Thai government! That means, those of you who have helped us so far with references and notarized copies and costs and prayer deserve a huge thank you from us:
We hadn’t heard anything for a month or two from the woman handling our file, so we were extremely excited to hear that the paperwork was correctly submitted and that we are now just waiting for, a) a response from Thailand saying they received the file, b) a notification that we are officially on their wait list and c) the match of our boy! Our caseworker has assured us that their shouldn’t be any issue with acceptance, but we are still praying that it is swift.
Since we declined to select a child from the waiting children list (a decision that was difficult to make), once we are accepted by Thailand, they will give us a child referral. That means, a child of their choosing that is probably within our specified age range (3-5) and sex (male), will be sent to us through WACAP and we will decide whether to accept the referral or wait for another. Jason and I, after speaking with other couples from our church who have adopted or are in a similar stage of the waiting process, decided that we will accept the first referral that is given. We are praying and trusting that that child, whoever they may be, will be the one that God has had in mind for us from the beginning. That is such a beautiful thought and I always have to wipe my eyes after I really think about it.
Additionally, our application has been sent to US immigration (the paper that will say, yes, you may bring a child back here) and we recently learned we have been approved for a small loan from Lifesong. The loan from Lifesong is helpful and we are very grateful to our church for helping us to obtain that, BUT we also received a generous offer from my parents shortly thereafter. They have offered to play our interest free bank throughout the rest of the process. This is such a HUGE blessing, because now we know we won’t be juggling interest payments or credit cards or any of that with each hefty payment. Any fundraising we manage to do will be paying back Lifesong (an organization that will fund many other adoptions) or my folks (who aren’t a big, scary interest charging bank).
SO, that is our update. Thanks again to all of you who ask us how it is going and remember us in your prayers. You’re all greatly appreciated and much loved.